WVF PRESIDENT DAN-VIGGO BERGTUN VISITS THE USA
16 June 2016
From 18 to 26 May 2016, WVF President Dan-Viggo Bergtun travelled to the United States. On this trip, he visited numerous organisations and governmental bodies in both New York and Washington, DC, to encourage further partnership between the WVF and American associations, as well as looking at the possibility of a Standing Committee on the Americas.
Mr. Bergtun started his trip in New York City, where he held meetings with Mr. Hervé Ladsous at the United Nations Headquarters (to read about Mr. Bergtun’s meeting with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations scroll further down this page) as well as Co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon Global, Mr. William McNulty.
Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to disaster situations around the globe. Founded in 2010, Team Rubicon Global has already successfully deployed over 5,000 veteran volunteers to over 20 countries, where they have carried out 140 missions rebuilding communities from disasters, ranging from hurricanes, to tornadoes, to floods, to earthquakes. Their aim is to demonstrate to society, and individual veterans alike, that veterans are powerful resources with skills to be harnessed.
Over the course of their meeting, Mr. Bergtun and Mr. McNulty discussed the importance of veterans retaining a sense of team and purpose after service, as well as the possibility for the respective organisations to work side by side in the future. This is an exciting opportunity, which the WVF will be looking into for the near future. For more information on Team Rubicon Global, visit their website here: http://teamrubiconglobal.org
Mr. Bergtun then made his way to Washington, DC, to visit several organisations and governmental bodies. Firstly, Mr. Bergtun held a meeting with the President of the American Veterans Committee, Mr. Saif Khan, and the Executive Director of Veteran Affairs of the State of Columbia, Mrs. Tammi R. Lambert.
The American Veterans Committee is a relatively young organisation, founded by Mr. Khan and Lt. Col. Hal Donahue in April 2013. Their main activities include organizing networking opportunities for veterans, linking veterans with potential employers, and helping increase business opportunities through connections between US veterans and veterans from other countries.
During the meeting, those present discussed the benefits of exchanging expertise, as well as the possibility to establish a Standing Committee of the Americas for the WVF. Mr. Bergtun also presented the WVF’s work. Mr. Khan and Mrs. Lambert were particularly interested by the Health and Welfare Division’s research into treating PTSD.
Following this fruitful meeting, Mr. Khan accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Bergtun to the Arlington National Cemetery, where they laid flowers and a wreath at the monuments, before observing the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The next day, President Bergtun attended the Russian branch of the U.S. –Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. This commission was set up in 1992 to investigate the fates of unaccounted for personnel from the US and Russia during World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. Mr. Bergtun held talks with American and Russian veterans, some of them coming from Member Associations of the WVF.
To round off the visit, a reception was held by American Veterans Committee in the famous DACOR Bacon House to welcome the WVF to the US. All of the keynote speakers gave full support to the WVF and the AVC.
Many other veteran organisations, officials and distinguished guests were present. One of our former member organisations was also there, Disabled American Veterans – DAV.
Overall, the visit was a resounding success. President Bergtun made some important contacts which should bear fruit in the WVF’s near future.
Top photo: Mr. William McNulty (left) with President Bergtun
Bottom photo: President Bergtun lays flowers at the Arlington National Cemetery